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Late HR sinks Giants after Suarez's strong start

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew Suarez applied a soothing dab of comfort to the concern surrounding the Giants' starting rotation.

Suarez looked extremely polished for seven innings Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres in his second Major League start, allowing two runs and four hits. The evening ended poorly for the Giants, however, as Eric Hosmer belted a tiebreaking ninth-inning home run off of Hunter Strickland to give the Padres a 3-2 win.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew Suarez applied a soothing dab of comfort to the concern surrounding the Giants' starting rotation.

Suarez looked extremely polished for seven innings Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres in his second Major League start, allowing two runs and four hits. The evening ended poorly for the Giants, however, as Eric Hosmer belted a tiebreaking ninth-inning home run off of Hunter Strickland to give the Padres a 3-2 win.

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Suarez struck out five and walked one, maintaining the command he displayed in his April 11 big league debut against Arizona. Though Suarez wasn't involved in the decision, he kept the Giants close enough to erase a 2-0 deficit and pull into a tie.

The Giants welcomed Suarez's effort, since it allayed some of the fears that came with the inflammation in Johnny Cueto's elbow. If Cueto requires a prolonged stay on the disabled list -- where Madison Bumgarner has spent all season and which Jeff Samardzija only recently vacated -- at least the Giants know that Suarez can provide help.

"That was really encouraging to see, especially now that Johnny's on the DL," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Suarez modestly deflected praise and aimed it toward San Francisco's defense. Shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Alen Hanson collaborated on three double plays, helping Suarez limit his pitch count to 84.

Suarez, 25, was named to start Tuesday before Cueto's health became troublesome. The Giants needed another starter regardless, due to last Saturday's doubleheader against the Dodgers. Suarez pitched that day for Triple-A Sacramento against Reno, allowing one run and three hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts. The similarity of that pitching line with Tuesday's, suggests that Suarez -- rated as San Francisco's No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline -- is consistent enough to take one set of attributes and assets wherever he goes.

Video: SD@SF: Suarez strikes out Villanueva in the 4th

"It's baseball," Suarez said. "There are a lot more people in the stands, but I'm just going to keep playing the same game I've been playing since I was little."

SOUND SMART
Pitching was the story of the day, so it's worth noting that Suarez joined the Cardinals' Jack Flaherty as the only rookie pitchers this season to induce opponents to hit into three double plays in a game.

Video: SD@SF: Hanson, Crawford turn 4-6-3 double play

Before Hosmer's homer in the ninth inning, left-handed batters were hitless in 27 at-bats against Strickland this season.

Video: SD@SF: Hosmer smacks go-ahead HR in the 9th

HE SAID IT
"This ballpark is kind of crazy. You don't know what you're gonna get. You hit a ball good, it may not go out. All I'm trying to do is have good at-bats and put a good swing on the pitch I was looking for. I was able to do that today." -- McCutchen, on hitting a drive to the center-field wall and a ferocious liner, which were caught by center fielder Manuel Margot and shortstop Freddy Galvis, respectively.

Video: SD@SF: Margot slams against wall to make the grab

UP NEXT
Left-hander Derek Holland looks for his first win as a member of the Giants when he takes on Clayton Richard and the Padres at 12:45 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Holland lasted just 3 1/3 innings his last time out against the Dodgers, watching his ERA rise to 5.76 through his first five starts.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants